21 Iconic Street Foods From Around The World For Under £5

21 Iconic Street Foods From Around The World For Under £5

Cheap, authentic and supremely instagrammable – we LOVE street food and we know you guys do too. Eating street food is a not only a great way to eat well on a backpacker’s budget, it also gives you the opportunity to chat to locals and find out more about the dishes and traditions behind them.

There are so many different street foods out there, in every country, region and city. To help you on your foodie quest, we’ve put together a guide to the most iconic street foods from around the world that you must try – from falafel in Israel to currywurst in Germany – you won’t believe what you can find for under a fiver. Think of this as a starting point for your culinary explorations, and be sure to share your own must-eat street food suggestions in the comments below!

1. Chimney Cake in the Czech Republic

street foods from around the world / chimney cake @kokusai_canuck

📷 @kokusai_canuck

Trdelník aka “chimney cake” is both a novelty photo opp and a sweet treat all rolled into one! These spiral-shaped donuts are made by wrapping the batter around a large spit, which is then cooked over a grill, rolled in sugar and served with lashings of Nutella. What’s not to love!? Guaranteed to warm your cockles on a cold Czech morn.

Typical Price: £3

Get it from: Literally anywhere in Prague. We recommend getting one from a corner stall on the Old Town Square so that you can snap an obligatory “church through the middle of the chimney cake” photo before you eat it.

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2. Masala Dosa in India

street foods from around the world / masala dosa / mark wiens

📷 Migrationology

The humble masala dosa is indigenous to the Southern states of India and usually comes served with sambar and chutney. It’s cheap, quick and high in carbohydrates. Perfect for hungry adventurers on the go.

Typical Price: Under £2

Get it from: Anand Stall in Mumbai for massive helpings and the freshest flavours.

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3. Poutine in Canada

street foods from around the world / poutine canada @shannondidwhat
📷 @shannondidwhat

And just like that, your hangover is cured! Poutine is a lavishly indulgent treat, originating in Quebec and made up of fries, cheese curds and gravy. It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of street foods from around the world, but it’s not to be missed. The word “poutine” is Québécois slang for a “mess” but there’s no need to worry about how it looks when it tastes this good!

Typical Price: £3.50

Get it from: Take your pick at the Ottawa Poutine Festival. Yes, you heard that right, there is an entire festival dedicated to poutine!

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4. Currywurst in Germany

street foods from around the world / currywurst berlin @jlhuish

📷 @jlhuish

Perhaps not the most sophisticated dish by sight but certainly not the wurst (lolololol). When you first touch down in Germany you need to make a beeline for this traditional dish, which is essentially a ketchup/curry sauce hybrid with chopped pork sausage and fries. Supremely tasty and ever so cheap!

Typical Price: £2

Get it from: Although currywurst is mainly associated with Berlin, you can get this delicious street food creation all over Germany. For the real deal head to Curry 36 – this Berlin street food stand is so popular they’ve even got their own branded merch!

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5. Pastel de Nata in Portugal

best street foods around the world / pastel de nata / Lola Photography📷 @lola.photography

There’s nothing raw or clean about these bad boys, but dammit they’re worth falling off the wagon for. This is Portugal’s answer to the custard tart and the main ingredients are sugar, egg yolks and butter. But because they’re not huge, it’s probably fine for you to have 3 in one sitting. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

Typical Price: £1
Get it from: The legendary Manteigaria bakery in Lisbon will make all your custardy dreams come true.

Hostels in Portugal | Cheap flights to Portugal

6. Jerk Chicken in Jamaica

best street foods from around the world / jerk chicken / flickr fimb

📷 Fimb

A smoky staple of the Jamaican street food scene, this iconic dish is traditionally served from jerk ‘huts’ with a side of fiery rice and peas. The name ‘jerk’ comes from the jerking or poking of the meat with a sharp object to get the most out of the flavour. You’ll smell the spicy-sweet marinade over the native pimento wood from miles around when these bad boys are cooking!

Typical price: £3

Get it from: Sweetwood Jerk Joint in Kingston for moreish, authentic flavours in a small and simple shack (make sure you take a tooth-pick with you!)

Hostels in Jamaica | Cheap flights to Jamaica

7. Halo Halo in the Philippines

street food from around the world / halo halo philippines / @dante_chyang📷 @dante_chyang

Well, HELLO there halo halo. Definitely one of the most instagram-able street foods from around the world. Translated into English as “mix mix”, the ingredients are up for debate but usually consist of shaved ice, fresh fruit, ice cream, a jelly-like object, a crunchy substance similar to Rice Krispies, and evaporated milk.

A tasty treat for kids both big and small!

Typical Price: £1.50

Get it from: Lana’s Halo-Halo, Located in the Legazpi City public market.

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8. Pad Thai in Thailand

best street foods from around the world / pad thai_flickr charles haynes
📷 Charles Haynes

Ubiquitous across the whole of Thailand as a quick and filling meal, this is one of the originals when it comes to street food from around the world. What’s most fascinating about Pad Thai, however, is that it probably isn’t even traditionally Thai. Noodles, stir-fry, and, especially, ‘noodle stir-fries’ are quintessentially Chinese…oo-err. Whatever the origins, this is one street food dish you must not miss when you visit Thailand.

Typical price: £1.50

Get it from: The legendary Pad Thai Thip Samai on Maha Chai Road in central Bangkok. Their entire menu is dedicated to pad thai so you know you’re in good hands. Upgrade to the self-proclaimed “superb” version if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

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9. Churros in Spain

street food from around the world churros / flickr Kathryn Yengel

📷 Kathryn Yengel

One of the naughtiest but also one of the tastiest street foods from around the world, churros are a MUST for hungry backpackers travelling through Spain. As if these freshly fried donut sticks weren’t delicious enough, they come served with the most divine melted chocolate, either drizzled on top or in a pot for dunking.

Typical Price: £3

Get it from:  Try Chocolat Madrid, a humble little cafe who serve up some of the most authentic churros in the Spanish capital.

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10. Bao (or Baozi) buns in China

best street foods from around the world / baozi / flickr er guiri📷 er Guiri

Bow down to the simple bun, or “little eats” as they are sometimes called. The baozi bun is filled with savoury fillings, such as vegetables or meat, and then steamed into the perfect combination of soft and sweet. Eating a bao bun is what it must be like to eat a cloud: fluffy, light and surprising!

Typical Price: £1

Get it from: Fangbang West Street in Shanghai. There’s also good street eating around People’s Park Fabric Market in the South Bund area.

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11. Banh Mi in Vietnam

best street food around the world / banh mi / flickr Meng he📷 Meng He

No street food bucket list could fail to mention the epic banh mi. Most travellers who have visited Hoi An never rid themselves of a lifelong love affair with this delicacy. It’s a perfect example of how amazing fusion food can be, teaming a classic French baguette with various delicious Vietnamese fillings. The result is what can only be described as a TASTE SENSATION.

Typical Price: £1

Get it from: The Banh Mi Queen who has been selling street food for almost 50 years, 15 minutes north of the Thu Bon river in Hoi An. She is a legendary tourist destination in her own right.

Hostels in Vietnam | Cheap flights to Vietnam

12. Dango in Japan

street food around the world / Dango flickr Hiroaki Maeda📷 Hiroaki Maeda

DANG-O these little Japanese dumplings taste good! Served on skewers and cooked over an open fire, the dumplings are made of rice flour and served with everything from sweet chestnut paste to sesame seeds.

Typical Price: £1

Get it from: Outside almost any temple in Japan. We loved the ones outside Kashima Shrine.

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13. Kottu Roti in Sri Lanka

best street food from around the world / Kottu Rotti / flickr ruocaled📷 Ruocaled

You’ll hear it clanging before you see it. Kottu Roti (meaning chopped bread) has its origins in Batticaloa, in the east of Sri Lanka and is created by mixing together flatbread, egg, meat and spices with two blunt metal blades to a rhythmic beat. Entirely mesmerising to watch, just as satisfying to eat.

Typical price: £2

Get it from: No1, Dewmini Rotishop in Mirissa, a family run business where you’ll eat on communal tables in the back garden, a little oasis just a stone’s throw from the beach and the main road.

Hostels in Sri Lanka | Cheap flights to Sri Lanka

14. Falafel in Israel

best street foods from around the world / falafel_wikipedia one armed man 📷 OneArmedMan

Falafel is now one of the most popular street foods in the world, and can be found almost everywhere. But the phenomenon was said to be born in Tel Aviv, the coastal town of Israel. The classic Israeli falafel is a fritter of ground chickpea spiced with cumin, coriander, paprika, raw garlic, onion, and lots of fresh parsley. So it’s essentially a health food, right?!

Typical Price: £1.50

Get it from: Hakosem, Tel Aviv where if you’re lucky you’ll be treated free falafel balls as you wait in line at this popular spot.

Hostels in Israel | Cheap flights to Israel

15. Ceviche in Peru

best street food around the world / banh mi / jen

One of the freshest street foods from around the world on this list, and a dish so good it has its own national holiday. If you ever get the chance to try fresh Peruvian ceviche, do not miss your chance! White fish marinated in citrus juice, spiced with chilli and served with tortilla chips on the side = PERFECTION!

Typical Price: £3

Get it from: Hole in the wall Al Toke Pez but get there early as there are only 6 spots at the counter!

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16. Poffertjes in the Netherlands

street food from around the world / poffertjes / flickr tijs zwinkels

 📷 Tijs Zwinkels

Poffertjes aka mini Dutch pancakes are a simple yet delicious street food dish that everyone should try once in their life. We’re not entirely sure where the fascination with small versions of big things came from but it seems as though Amsterdam were ahead of the game when they started creating Poffertjes. These pancakes are cute AND delicious, and we think that’s a winning combo.

Typical Price: 10 for £2

Get it from: All over the Netherlands, but watch out for travelling street food van Pofferdikkie in Amsterdam, for a kitsch take on this traditional classic.

Hostels in the Netherlands | Cheap flights to the Netherlands

17. Baklava in Turkey

street food around the world / baklava / flickr Hans Splinter📷 Hans Splinter

Made from many layers of pastry, oozing with syrup and pistachios and often crafted from a carefully guarded family recipe, Baklava is one epic sugar rush you MUST experience when you visit Turkey. A bag of these heavenly parcels is the perfect accompaniment for watching one of Istanbul’s famous sunsets with friends.

Typical Price: A quarter of a kilo for £2.50.

Get it from: Kadıköy Market in Istanbul, where you’ll find a foodie wonderland crammed with all kinds of delicious edibles.

Hostels in Turkey | Cheap flights to Turkey

18. Arepas in Colombia

best street food from around the world / arepas / jen

This famous Colombian staple can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner – making them one of the most versatile street food dishes out there. Arepas consist of a ground maize dough and are served with a range of accompaniments, including plantain, avocado, cheese and tomatoes. Yum!

Typical Price: £2.50

Get it from: the colourful streets of the old walled city in Cartagena for the perfect photo opp.

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19. Bubble tea in Taiwan

best street food from around the world / bubble tea taiwan / flickr lesley gouger
📷 lesley gouger

Originating in Taiwan, bubble tea or boba tea consists of creamy tea and chewy black tapioca balls. Exotic versions include custard pudding, grass jelly and honeydew. Mind-boggling and very Instagrammable!

Typical Price: £1

Get it from: LMama (廖媽媽珍珠奶茶), adjacent to the Keelung Train Station

Hostels in Taiwan | Cheap flights to Taiwan

20. Kimbap in South Korea

street food from around the world / kimbap / flickr manda wong📷 manda_wong

Kimbap is South Korea’s beloved take on Sushi. Packed onto street carts, kimbap begins with a sheet of seaweed that’s filled with rice, a few pickled veggies and a slice of egg and then glazed in oil and sesame seeds. A giant, fancy take on a timeless classic.

Typical Price: £1

Get it from: Head to Gwangjang Market in Seoul where each stall will claim to be selling the “original” kimbap, but try to find the “Mo-nyeo Woncho Mayak Kimbap” stand.

Hostels in South Korea | Cheap flights to South Korea

21. Arancini in Italy

best street foods from around the world / arancini / wikipedia ji elle

📷 ji-Elle

Arancini balls were invented when an ancient emperor wanted to carry his rice around with him whilst hunting. The balls were easily transportable, non-perishable and tasty. They’re deep fried in breadcrumbs and typically filled with risotto rice, mozzarella and ragu.

Typical Price: £1.50

Get it from: A hole in the wall called Da Arianna, hidden down Palermo’s backstreets in Sicily where they produce hundreds of arancini balls each day.

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What are some of your favourite street foods from around the world? Tell us about it in the comments below for the chance to feature 👇

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About The Author

Emma Martell (Hostelworld)

Coffee-obsessed Berlin exile living in London.

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13 Responses to “21 Iconic Street Foods From Around The World For Under £5”

  1. There are two major problems with number 18: a) Arepas are a common staple in both Colombia and Venezuela, but they far more idiosyncratic, popular and varied in presentations and fillings in Venezuela than they are in Colombia. You can virtually find an arepa stand in every corner of Venezuela. In Colombia, not even kind of close; b) The photo that you published does not show any arepas whatsoever…

    • Arepa Lover Reply

      In Colombia you can find an arepa stand basically on every corner 🙂 I just came back from living there. They filled them with eggs/ chicken/meat etc and the maza itself was yuca/corn/ etc. I loved them!
      But yeah, that photo shows a tamal, I think…

  2. Hi! An arepa don’t cost that price … is cheaper …less than 0,50 euros and in the pictures there are any arepa.

  3. You’d be insane to pay more than about half (or, more properly, a quarter of) a pound for a baozi in China. 小吃, “little eats” means any snack food…. Great baozi come fried in Shanghai (生煎包)or as dangerous soup-filled monstrosities, also from Shanghai (汤包, 小笼包) which can creep up around £1 in price, passing it only in sit-down places and tourist markets。。。 Good baozi, esp. Chashao 叉烧包, are standard dimsum in Guangdong but some of the most famous are from the Northeast, called 狗不理, “Go believe” or “ignore the dog (eat it yourself)”.. .
    In general, love the breadth of the article, sure a lot of South Indians may be dismayed by recommending Bombay for a masala dosa though 🙂

  4. That is such a great list, thanks for that. I have one objection though, falafel was originated in Egypt, Coptic Egypt to be exact, before it spread out to the Middle East. And that picture is actually from Ramallah as per the link in the caption.

  5. About number #21 I think what you are looking for are Arancine and the real shape is round like a little ball (waiting for friends from Catania to argue about that…).

    Also now I’m hungry…I want a Bao!

  6. Rohith VISHWANATHIYER Reply

    Option#2 – Dosa tastes better in Southern India as compared to the one displayed here
    The birthplace of Dosa is in Southern INDIAN state of Karnataka, it has different versions made in various types across INDIA with number crossing more than 200 types.
    Best one is the Mysuru Masala Dosa served with potato onion mixture and varieties of chutneys.

  7. Where’s souvlaki.
    Where’s lahmadjoun
    Where’s those pljeskavica?
    Where are the blini?
    Tamales?

  8. What about Trinidad and Tobago we have the Doubles and roti and if u go to the beach we have bake and shark for u too

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